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Lot 132

A Modern Rarity

132. STEELE, John. In Camp and Cabin. Mining Life and Adventure, in California during 1850 and Later. By Rev. John Steele, Author of “Across the Plains in 1850,” and “The Schoolmates, an Epic of the War of 1861-5.” Lodi: Published by J. Steele, 1901. [2, blank], [2, title], 81 [3, blank] pp., printed in double column. 8vo, original grey printed wrappers, title within plain black rule border on upper cover. One small stain on front free endpaper, first few leaves lightly browned, otherwise very fine. Preserved in a half brown hard-grain morocco and tan cloth solander box.

     First edition. Adams, Guns 2130 (noting rarity and presence of material on Joaquín Murieta). Bauer 457. Braislin 1718. Cowan II, p. 612. Graff 3964. Holliday 1044. Howes S924(“b”). Littell 998. Norris 3726. Plath 1015. Rocq 16078. Plains & Rockies IV:244. Streeter Sale 3027. A true modern rarity, cutting across several fields of collecting: Westward migration, California Gold Rush, lawlessness in the West.

Kurutz, The California Gold Rush 598:

This detailed and important account of mining life is a sequel to Across the Plains. The three years of mining experience portrayed in this book was based on Steele’s daily journal. Steele published the book fifty years after the adventure. According to the introduction: “The author . . . faithfully delineated the everyday life and experience of the average miner.” He provided important information on mining techniques and laws while laboring in the Coloma District and on the Yuba and Feather rivers. The diary began on September 23, 1850, and ended late in July 1853, with his return to Wisconsin. While trying to depart from San Francisco, he recorded how his two pistols saved him from being robbed.


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